Georgia’s former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili has announced he will return to politics after five years asylum in France and stand in the Mayoral elections in the eastern Georgian city of Gori.
Okruashvili was the country’s Defence Minister from 2004 to 2006 before he was dismissed. In 2007 he returned to politics, he was involved in controversy and later that year he left Georgia and was granted political asylum in France. He returned to Georgia in November 2012.
Okruashvili earlier said he did not plan to return to politics as elections were "kind of a third league game and a headache” for him.
However the current situation, inertness and specific environment in Gori trigged his decision to return, Okruashvili said on a Georgian talk-show last evening.
He noted Gori had not been properly appreciated by any Government and its population looked at the future not with hope, but with fear.
Speaking on television, Okruashvili also said Georgian Parliament changed the election code in a personal attack against him. The new self-government rules state in order for someone to participate in the Mayoral elections, the candidate must have lived in Georgia for a minimum of 5 years, including the last two years.
Okruashvili returned to Georgia in 2012 after spending five years in France, which makes it impossible for him to participate in the elections under the new rules. However, Okruashvili said he would find a solution to act otherwise.
He also promised the population of Gori, that if they wished, he would return the dismantled Stalin monument to the centre of the city within 10 days following the elections.
Okruashvili was one of the closes allies of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and was the country’s Defence Minister for two years, from 2004 to 2006, when he was dismissed.
In 2007 he made a scandalous comeback to politics and openly confronted Saakashvili and his Government.
That same year, Okruashvili was briefly arrested at his party headquarters on charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of office.
In 2007 he left Georgia and was granted political asylum in France. He returned to Georgia on November 20, 2012.